Medals were a given in Asian Games men’s and women’s volleyball, but even the quarterfinals aren’t easy in Hangzhou

September 15, 2023 0 Comments

The South Korean men’s and women’s volleyball teams have always been a top-four team, at least on the Asian stage. Especially at the Asian Games, a podium finish has been the ‘default’. From Bangkok 1966 to Jakarta-Palembang 2018, the men’s team won 14 consecutive medals. They won gold in Bangkok 1978, Busan 2002, and Doha 2006, as well as seven silver and four bronze medals. The women’s volleyball team has also won gold in Hiroshima 1994 and Incheon 2014, as well as eight silver and four bronze medals, apart from a fifth-place finish in Doha 2006.

The men’s team won silver and the women’s team won bronze at Jakarta-Palembang 2018, but neither the men’s or women’s teams are confident of winning a medal at Hangzhou 2022. This is due to the disastrous performances of the men’s and women’s teams at the end of the 2022-2023 V-League.

The fall of women’s volleyball is even more shocking, especially after the glory of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic quarterfinals. Since the retirement of veterans like Kim Yeon-kyung, Kim Soo-ji (Heungkuk Life), and Yang Hyo-jin (Hyundai E&C), who have been part of the national team for more than a decade, Korean women’s volleyball has been reduced to a ‘neighborhood drum’. The team suffered a 12-match losing streak at the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) and finished sixth at the 2023 Asian Championships, losing the fifth-sixth place match against Kazakhstan, let alone reaching the quarterfinals. The women’s national team’s world ranking plummeted to 35th after a string of losses.

The men’s team also struggled at the Asian Championships, finishing third after being swept by Bahrain in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Asia Challenge Cup, a tournament they were favored to win due to the absence of Japan and China.

However, men’s volleyball has something to look forward to in Hangzhou. The best setter in the world, Han Se-u (Korean Air), who did not play in the Asia Challenge Cup or the Asian Championships, will play in Hangzhou. Han’s athleticism and quick tosses will help the V-League’s top attackers, including Jeong Ji-seok, Lim Dong-hyuk (Korean Air), Jeon Kwang-in, and Heo Soo-bong (Hyundai Capital).

The fact that Japan, Iran, Qatar, and China will be holding qualifiers for the Paris Olympics 30 days after the Asian Games could also be a good thing for us. Japan, Iran, and Qatar are likely to field teams with an eye on the Paris Olympic Qualifiers. If the men’s team doesn’t qualify, they will focus on the Asian Games.바카라

Women’s volleyball doesn’t have an extra element of strength. On top of that, they will have to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualifiers in Poland from June 16 to 24. The physical demands will be high. The team will need to be as organized as possible in Poland against world-class opponents and carry that momentum into Hangzhou if they are to have any hope of advancing beyond the quarterfinals. Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank), who hasn’t played well in international tournaments since taking over the captaincy from Kim Yeon-kyung, will need to show her ‘clutch’ decision-making skills.

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